much to do

Not feeling much like writing this week because of being busy with life. Not overly busy, but just doing things. Here’s a run down:

I’ve been continuing with trying to learn Russian, but now I’ve decided to use two different websites instead of relying on just one. The one I’ve added (Memrise) has the benefit of having recordings of actual people saying the words and phrases, which you’d hope is more accurate and true to real Russian.

If I try to do even just a little bit of learning every day, I’m hoping I can get decent level in a few years or so. I have a book of Russian stories I’d like to be able to read one day, but I know that day is quite far away (unless I really dedicate a significant amount of time to learning).

As for other reading, after realising that I haven’t been sticking to my own advice to someone else about reading a little bit every day, I’ve been trying to make sure I read a bit whenever I can. Sure, it’s not quite back to a daily habit yet, but I think I’m making more progress with War and Peace than I was, say, a month or two ago.

Speaking of War and Peace, I’ve discovered that I’m more engaged with the book in the parts about the relationships between people, and their lives in Russia. On the other hand, my brain seems to tire more quickly from reading about battles and warfare. Only when there is some description of the individual human experience in the war, do I become more captivated. I think perhaps it’s just harder for me to picture the landscapes and battalion manoeuvres and whatnot than to picture a bunch of people sitting around a drawing room or dining table. 

Either way, I’m still enjoying the book overall, and am far enough along that I can start to have delusions of possibly finishing the book by the end of the year. Only thing I want to add is that I read in the introduction or blurb or somewhere that Pierre is the character most like Tolstoy himself. However, I’ve so far found Pierre to be one of the least likeable characters, which I think is confusing my brain because in Anna Karenina, Levin was the most autobiographical character, and he was my favourite.

Writing this post, I’ve really come to realise that I’ve given myself a lot of things to do that require consistent and frequent effort. The next on the list is piano. I’m very aware that I need to practise piano a lot more than I have been if I want to ever get any good at it, and be able to play the kind of music that I want to play. Of course, in this I have no delusions, as I seem to spend more time on learning Russian and reading books, which seem a lot easier.

Perhaps another area that has been a bit neglected is the garden. After all this rain, the plants are flourishing, but so are the weeds. And I think too much rain builds that complacency of “we don’t need to worry about watering the garden today”, and it quietly slips from the daily routine.

But the clouds have dispersed for now, and the sun has come out. It is the start of the week-end, and there is much to do!

the start of my Russian journey

Before I started learning Russian, I had some confidence that if I could pick up Farsi/Persian, then Russian, surely, could not be much harder. Ever since reading Anna Karenina a few years ago, I wanted to learn Russian. Since (obviously) I read an English translation of the novel, and I’ve had very little exposure to the Russian language before, my desire to learn the language was based almost solely on how lovely all the Russian names sounded.

When I actually started learning Russian (about a month ago now), I was quickly dismayed by how hard it was to learn the alphabet. Of course, I knew their alphabet was different, but I thought it would be reasonably easy to pick up since they look similar to English characters. And, yes, several of the letters do look very much like English letters, but a lot of these also have completely different pronunciations.

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another obscure review: Complete Persian

A couple of weeks ago, I happened to be in Geelong to visit family. While there, my sister took me to the local library, which is quite modern, like it was recently renovated. I was rather impressed, but, as I wandered over to the language section, I still didn’t have high hopes of finding anything in Persian. Amazingly, though, they did have one!

The book in question was Teach Yourself: Complete Persian (Modern Persian/Farsi) by Narguess Farzad. I’m calling this an obscure review because it is unlikely to have any relevance/interest to anyone I know, but I’m writing this anyway because I feel compelled to, and, who knows, maybe there’s someone out there looking for reviews of Persian textbooks… Continue reading

a revision of goals and reading

[This post is a continuation from my post last week about reading goals.]

Going from reading to study, I’ve decided to commit at least another two years to my self-guided Persian/Farsi studies. I think I will need the rest of this year to finish working my way through the text book I bought, and then another year to be able to read The Little Prince and other texts that my friend has lent me. I’m not sure that all of this will enable me to hold an actual conversation with someone, but I hope I can reach a level of proficiency that I’m happy with and that my friend approves of.

And while on the topic of study, I suppose I ought to announce some sort of commitment to my CPD (continuing professional development). Last year, I attained the requisite 40 CPD points reasonably early on in the year, and very much neglected it for the rest of the year in favour of Persian and other things. Now I’m at a point where I feel like my knowledge is not nearly as polished as it used to be, and I realise I need to make this a regular thing rather than a “cram as many CPD activities into the shortest amount of time” thing. This will probably mean regular reading of Pharmacy journals, and maybe watching online lectures when I can. Continue reading

learning English by learning Persian

At the end of July, when I was waiting at Cairns Airport for my flight back home, I had the idea to translate my “rationalising my commute” poem thing into Persian. It was going to be my next project/assignment to help prod me along with my studies.

This idea came to me because I was re-reading it for some reason (I occasionally go back and re-read things I wrote months or years ago), and it occurred to me that I probably knew a lot of the words in Persian. I jotted down some of these, which wasn’t really that much, but it was enough to give me the feeling that this was an achievable goal.  Continue reading

a story of a little fox

Things seem to have gotten rather busy lately. I feel like I’m not as active in the blogosphere as I used to be, but there is a good reason for this!

I have written a story.

Well, it’s only a short story — four pages to be exact, though it is handwritten and double-spaced too — but it has taken a very long time to write. I went through four drafts in total. (The number four seems to be a thing here. Too bad the story only has three characters.)

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